With all the fast and powerful new ways to communicate these days - email, IM, SMS, VoIP, social networking and more - it seems amazing that people still put paper into envelopes and have someone physically deliver it to you. But thanks to a new service available here in the US, you can avoid snail mail altogether.

Starting at $13 per month, a service called Earth Class Mail makes your paper mail electronic and puts it online in your own private "mailbox".

Here's how it works. You file a change of address with the post office and have all your mail sent to the company. Earth Class Mail scans the outside of the envelope, and you view the scans online.

You click on a piece of mail and choose to recycle it, have it scanned so you can later read it online, or even have the physical paper mail forwarded to you at any address. You can then ask the company to "archive" the originals in its massive warehouse for later retrieval.

The service is targeted at people who travel a lot and at companies of all sizes that want more secure, efficient mail handling. But it's also ideal for anyone who thinks paper mail is silly and is looking for a better way.

The company offers different service packages for personal, small business and enterprise users.

Computerworld